Bob Adelfson - Divorce Book

CHAPTER 3 Marital Settlement Agreement

One of the most productive methods for couples to move forward with a divorce, and on with their lives, is to disconnect emotionally and handle the sale of the home in a businesslike manner. Because the marital home is usually the greatest asset in a marriage, it is also the greatest liability. You must give a lot of serious thought to securing settlement terms that protect both parties, especially the spouse who is departing the home. When you enter into your marital settlement agreement, your lawyer should specify who is financially responsible for the mortgage, the homeowners insurance, utilities, and upkeep of the marital home. If the spouse occupying the marital home is responsible for listing, showing, and selling the home, the other spouse may be obligated to pay part or all of the mortgage as well as contribute to the upkeep of the home. If the occupying spouse shows little effort in getting the house sold, the marital agreement should provide a timetable for the sale of the home. It is important for the marital agreement to include provisions outlining the steps to be taken if the house cannot be sold within a specified time or if one spouse fails to meet any financial obligations. Consult your legal adviser for contingencies that are specific to your situation. Additional expenses may include repainting, landscaping, or replacing appliances or carpeting. There should be clear direction on how to handle the unexpected while in the process of selling the home — for example, if a home inspection reveals a cracked foundation or termite infestation. Ex-spouses sometimes agree to a fixed amount of time to share expenses prior to the sale of the home. Quick decisions can be damaging, especially when it comes to co-ownership or one spouse


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